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Irrigation support counters Fish&Game findings

Irrigation support counters Fish&Game findings

In January this year, Kiwis voted 71% pro-irrigation in an independent poll commissioned by IrrigationNZ.

Public support for irrigation was again on show today when results from a survey by Fish&Game showed 67% of New Zealanders agree to large scale irrigation schemes provided water and nutrients are managed. The survey commissioned by Fish&Game was called ‘Farming and the Environment’ and was conducted independently by Horizon Research Limited.

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says while he agrees with some of Fish&Game’s survey results, unfortunately the organisation has chosen to focus on the negative. In reality only a minority of Kiwis hold views that reflect no development or progress for New Zealand.

“Fish&Game is reiterating the same old rhetoric around the water quality problems that we all know exist in some parts of New Zealand. Bryce is like a broken record. It’s time Fish&Game replaced him with someone who can make a constructive contribution. After the Land &Water Forum the farming community is now focused on finding solutions – not throwing stones. Kiwis in our latest research emphasised that as long as irrigation is undertaken in a sustainable and responsible fashion, the majority are comfortable with it.”

“We do however acknowledge that Kiwis need more information on irrigation practice today and how it is monitored and managed and we hope to fill that information gap next month with the launch of our new SMART irrigation website.”

In the meantime we agree with the following findings from Fish&Game;

· Industry bodies to better understand and align with public opinion on issues relating to irrigation, water and environmental protection in order to form responsible and acceptable policies and industry standards;

· That irrigation which aids economic development must be managed responsibly with standardised measures and monitoring in place and that

· ‘Smarter’ practices must be sought out which both enhance production but also protect New Zealand’s resources.

“Irrigation New Zealand is working with agencies, organisations and individuals to minimise the impact of irrigation on our rivers and river flow and water quality limits are being set so that irrigators sustainably manage the water we all value,” says Mr Curtis.

*The Irrigation New Zealand Poll was conducted as part of a Research project, the sample size was 1,000 people taken from a random selection of 10,000 telephone numbers in Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, Hamilton and Wairarapa, sample criteria Aged 18 or older, maximum sampling error (at 50%) +/- 3.1% @ 95% confidence level.

Ends

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